When we study costume jewelry and discuss the metal shortages brought on by WWII, we often fail to recognize that the jewelry industry in the early 1950s also experienced metal shortages brought on by the Korean war. Companies still recovering from an industry fraught with challenges from the previous war faced similar challenges. Sourcing materials wasn’t always as easy as placing an order. The U.S. government controlled the metal supply and its use. In most cases, companies had to seek permission to use materials already on-hand at their production facilities.
One example of this was illustrated in an article dated April 19, 1952, by WWD. The NPA or National Production Authority, which controlled metal supplies to ensure adequate materials for both national defense and civilian production, granted the use of “white metal” to Anthony Creations Inc., Brier Manufacturing Co., Kramer Jewelry Co. New York and Trifari, Krussman & Fishel, Inc. The four grants were to help elevate further financial hardship or mitigate staff unemployment. Brier Manufacturing sought relief pending conversion to manufacturing with other materials such as plastics for costume jewelry. In contrast, Trifari sought relief to keep employees during the retooling process to manufacture military-related items.